The Text

Mark 12:1-12 (CSB)
1 He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.

2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them.

3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.

4 Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.

5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed.

6 He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

7 But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’

8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others.

10 Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

11 This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?”

12 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.

The Devotion

The people of Jesus' time loved it when Christ did something that would benefit them.

But if he did something that would hurt their wallets, livelihood, power, status, appearance, or their stony hearts, they wanted to kill him.

People have no issues with the prophet’s God. That is until God commands his prophets to preach the good news to his people. His people, far from God and disobeying God, will hear the gospel and it would smell like death.

So much so that they will kill and destroy the prophets.

Luke 11:48-51 (CSB) Therefore, you are witnesses that you approve the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their monuments. Because of this, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world — from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. “Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible.

Christ is the Prophet. By his teaching, preaching, and his actions of love, healing, and deliverance, he would be murdered just because his very presence challenged and confronted and condemned are little mud-slum kingdoms of little power and little appearance and little wealth.

There are two ways to respond to Christ: trust and be saved. The other is reject him and be condemned. Ignorance is not a third way–ignoring is rejecting.

Do not reject Christ. Christ gives the gospel commands: repent of your little slum kingdom and your false god worship and your identity in something not Christ.

The Discussion

1. What does our little kingdoms look like?
2. What do we want most in this life? Be honest.
3. Is that actually God or do we say God in hopes that he will help and bless us with what we want from this world?
4. How many times have we confused God's good gifts with God himself and in thinking we wanted Him but instead, we wanted what he can give.

The Prayer from the Psalms

Psalm 14 (CSB)
For the choir director. Of David.

1 The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.” They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good.

2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God.

3 All have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.

4 Will evildoers never understand? They consume my people as they consume bread; they do not call on the LORD.

5 Then they will be filled with dread, for God is with those who are righteous.

6 You sinners frustrate the plans of the oppressed, but the LORD is his refuge.

7 Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come from Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

O Lord,
I would say to you, “I have not forgotten you.” But what about those times I succumb to the wickedness of my heart, to the depravity of the world, or to the lies of Satan? What about those times?

What about those times when I am devoid of strength and I do not turn to the one who has my infinite strength?

What about those times when I rely on my rational thought process, the very good gift that you have given me, instead being depended and led by that very Giver, the Spirit of God, by which I am declared to be your beloved son?

What if I want to do good things that seem to glorify you but in deepest heart, only meagerly fulfill my desire for worship when it is you, O Lord, who has set eternity into my heart so that I would be left desolated when I tried to fulfill that hole with anything else other than the Infinite God?

But you know me. You have known me before you created time. You have known me and in your knowledge of all my pain, my heartaches, my troubles, my sin, my depravity, my iniquities, _you loved me_. You loved me with all of your infinite being. You loved me and you created me. You take joy in me, you watch over me, and you sing over me.
One day, you will come and get me so I can be with you for all of eternity.

And you have sent your Son to live when I could not live, to die when I should have died, to be buried when my sins would have soon crushed me, and to be raised to life because I have none.

And you have given me your Spirit to give me strength because I am so mortal; to give me hope when there is none in this life that is hopeful; to be conformed to look like your Son so that you can _logically, reasonably, and justly_ declare me to be your own; and to give me not just life but the fullness of life.

You have spoken to me. You called out to me. You have said these things and so many more things so that my joy may be full,

For your great glory forevermore.

God, thank you. Thank you for loving me.

I love you.

In your Son’s awesome name, I pray this.
Amen.